Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Bouchetia erecta

with 14 comments

March 30th was an unusually cool day in Austin: high 50s in the morning and a maximum around 76° in the afternoon. With weather like that bound not to last long in this land of heat, out I went to the natural area in my neighborhood that I’ve often visited along Yaupon Dr. beneath the large power lines. There in a limestone meadow I found a small white flower nestled up against the even smaller pink flowers of some wild garlic, Allium drummondii. Thanks to Joe Marcus, I learned that the little white flower is Bouchetia erecta, a member of the nightshade family. This species, which is endemic to Texas, goes by the common names erect bouchetia and painted tongue.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 10, 2017 at 4:54 AM

14 Responses

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  1. What a treasure this one is. I know the wild garlic, so seeing the two together is a nice way of showing its small size. I think I found a tiny one known as false nightshade yesterday, and I know I found silver-leaf nightshade. These families are often larger than I expect.

    I have a few identification challenges of my own ahead of me. I think one of my own treasures from the weekend is a xeric fern, but there were some oddities on the Willow City loop, including a green, spikey something that outdid the bluebonnets when it came to “interesting.”


    April 10, 2017 at 7:25 AM

    • Even after years of wandering in nature, I still find local native plants that are new to me. There’s always the hope of find more.

      By coincidence, I photographed a kind of false nightshade flower yesterday in Dripping Springs. Several species exist in central Texas, though I don’t know how to distinguish them.

      Did your green, spikey plant have flowers yet?

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 10, 2017 at 8:47 AM

      • I think it might have been doing what passes for blooming. It looks rather like a yucca crossed with an octopus; the spike develops little pads that look just like the suckers on an octopus tentacle as it matures. After they appear, it seems to begin blooming (or something) from the bottom. Once I get settled in and can devote some time to the photos, I’ll send a couple along. It looks like it belongs in New Zealand.


        April 10, 2017 at 9:42 PM

  2. I learned from Bill Carr this weekend that the Hill Country has 75 plants endemic to this region alone! He moved here from Ohio and folks there kidded him because “everyone knows there is no vegetation in Texas”. Turns out Ohio has 0 plants indigenous to that state. Jeri Porter

    Jeri Porter

    April 10, 2017 at 7:49 AM

    • I was reminded just yesterday that many people who visit the Austin area from places in the East often say they’re surprised at how much greenery we have here. My guess is that those people confused central Texas with west Texas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 10, 2017 at 8:51 AM

  3. The onion and garlic as I mow for the first time in spring makes my eyes burn a little, but the smell wakes me up to spring! Gorgeous capture of a dainty — and less oniony smelling — flower.


    April 10, 2017 at 8:03 AM

    • Mowing garlic and onions would make my eyes sting, too (and I might start sneezing as well). I never sniffed the erect bouchetia flower to see if I could detect a scent; I’ll try to remember to do that then next time I see one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 10, 2017 at 8:54 AM

      • It does have a scent! My daughter learned about scent and pollen the hard way: nose in scented onion flowers = red itchy eyes. She’ll never do that again!


        April 10, 2017 at 9:00 AM

        • A rewarding one to sniff is bull nettle, whose fragrant flowers remind me of gardenias. You have to be careful, though, because the flowers are the only part of the bull nettle plant not covered with noxious needles.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 10, 2017 at 9:09 AM

  4. Oh that’s interesting Steve .. a member of the nightshade family. Would love to see the leaves. Wonderful image 😃


    April 10, 2017 at 2:14 PM

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